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granada la bella blog

About this blog

Here you will find my personal view about selected events relating to Granada, 'the city where anything is possible', Granada, 'la bella y la bestia', and particularly about the city's uneasy relationship with its greatest son, Federico Garcia Lorca, who alternatively loved and loathed it.

High Speed vs conventional trains

AVE (High Speed Train) Posted on Tue, February 12, 2019 19:17:15

In November
2018 the west-bound Moreda line was re-opened, enabling a resumption of the
conventional ‘Talgo’ Granada-Madrid intercity train service after a
three-and-a-half year hiatus. This happened in spite of the fact that six
months earlier, the government had categorically rejected the idea, arguing
that the existing bus replacement service ‘covered the needs’ of travellers
heading for Madrid, Sevilla, or Barcelona. There had been no significant drop
in the number of users since the service was interrupted in 2015 it was argued.
So everything was ok.

this cursory abandonment of the Talgo-Moraleda line is symptomatic of the
relationship between the conventional rail network and the High Speed network,
in which the former has consistently been neglected in favour of the latter.

For example,
over 31,000 million euros have been invested in the High Speed network over the
last decade; compared with just over 6000 million in conventional stock and
infrastructure: a relation of 5:1.

Last year, 2018, a little more than
1000 million euros was invested in the AVE, as against some 337 million in the
conventional rail network. So, 3 of every four euros invested in rail
infrastructure went to the much smaller and less used High Speed network. The
conventional rail network has more than 13,000 kilometres of track, compared to
the AVE’s 3000. 2 million use the conventional network every day; whereas a
maximum of 25,000 travel by AVE.

And while Spain has the most extensive High
Speed network per inhabitant in the world, only exceeded in kilometres by
China, at the same time the Spanish network carries the fewest passengers: less
than 15 per kilometre, as against 50 for France, 84 for Germany, 63 for China,
and 166 for Japan.

imbalance has been largely brought about by the prestige the AVE contributes to
the local political elites and business communities. The fear of missing the
technological bus to the future is also a factor: An AVE-less city risks
marginalisation, and being left behind. Every provincial capital strives to be
on the AVE map, as indeed is the case for Granada.

other words, a high-speed high-prestige rail service for the few is draining
funds from an existing rail network used by an overwhelming majority of the
population, with extremely detrimental long-term consequences. The High Speed
network is an ‘inefficient mosaic’ without any realistic long-term planning in
which delays and ‘unforeseen’ additional costs are the norm and have led to
wasteful or inopportune investments to the tune of some 26,000 million euros
over the last two decades. (From: Ramón Muñoz
Madrid 6 Jan 2019)
Spanish Rail Network, showing existing operational AVE lines


AVE (High Speed Train) Posted on Tue, February 12, 2019 19:02:04

Granada will
be linked to the High Speed Train (AVE) network from June 2019. [See previous
blogs: Oct 2018 (#91); May 2018 (#85);
Jan & Feb 2017 (#54 & 56); March 2014 (48); and Feb 2013 (#29).]
This is almost certainly probably definite. It’s what Minister of Public Works,
José Luis Ábalos, said last
September. And besides, 18 June 2019 is the date that the bus replacement
service to ferry people between Granada and Antequera expires. Until now, the
bus company contract has been renewed every six months since the railway line
was permanently closed for works to be carried out on the new line in April

Well, we said ‘probably definitely’
because, just in case, the bus replacement contract has been extended for
another three months from 19 June, but not, we note, for the usual six. There
has never previously been a contract of such short duration. So we have good
reason to be optimistic. Something is moving. They’ve started training the High
Speed Train drivers, I hear. So if it isn’t June, it will surely be before

The High Speed Train was once
supposed to start serving Granada in 2007. In 2015 the station was closed ‘for
4 – 6 months’ while essential works were carried out. Then they talked about
late 2017 for the first AVE to Granada, then early 2018, etc., etc

But this summer, 2019, you will
probably definitely be able to whoosh into Granada at 300kph from either
Madrid, or Sevilla. Fingers crossed. Or you could catch a plane from seven
European cities. [//]